27 Jan

My Dream House

First, before I tantalize you with my new quilt, I have to share my purchases today. I went out to buy new camera batteries (so I could take slides of the new quilt) and decided to return empty crates of beer and water while I was out (I tend not to return or restock these because I can only carry the crates in the car, and I hate to drive to the grocery store since it’s only two blocks away). At the only media store open after 2:00 on a Saturday I also saw irons. Lovely irons with slippery plates and LOTS of steam! Needless to say, when the nice lady in the housewares aisle offered me a discount on a particular iron because it was the last one in stock, I felt compelled to buy it. (I have been using a sub-standard iron since I dropped and broke my last decent one.) Having been seduced by the shiny iron AND needing batteries and a lens cap, and a sporty armband for TS&WGH which holds his iPod, I ended up without much cash for groceries. I carefully counted my coins and bought only the bare essentials at the grocery store: 2 liters of milk, 6 eggs, a package of yeast, a crate of bubbly water, and a crate of beer. Life’s essentials, I tell ya!

I also joined SAQA today. I’m going to try it out as an “active” member for a year, and then see if I’ve gained enough from the membership to merit trying out for a “professional” membership.

OK, on to the good stuff. The association of German quilt guilds is having a big show in Berlin this summer and their competition theme “Dream Houses.” A friend of mine pointed me to the competition because of “Quiltstadt,” my house quilt made of cotton shopping bags. “Quiltstadt” is too big, and Gerrie’s quilt is too small, so I sat on the idea for a week or so. Then another friend said something and it sparked an idea.
I combined my son’s drawing of our house with painted roots and a pieced border to properly frame my “dream.” I particularly like that the pieced border is made entirely of scraps from the last year’s projects. My newly (since AQT in November) acquired skills with the tjanting tool were perfect for the houses, to which I also added pieced roofs and sky.
Dream House Quilt

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I used my parallel undulating line quilting for the “underground” part of the quilt. I like making some spaces for hand embroidery too. The darkest parts of the roots are an uneven satin stitch done with the machine through all three layers of the quilt.

Quilted Root Detail

The colored windows on the houses were done separately and then fused in place. I chose lime green for the houses because that’s the color my son chose for his drawing. The sky is a loose version of traditional fan quilting. I had a hard time with this because it’s teh kind of thing that I think you need to practice for about six months before you’re really good at it, and I was unwilling to set this quilt aside for that long. I’m also too impatient to quilt the same motif over and over until I can do it really well. So, after ripping it out four times, I decided to live with it as is, since the overall effect is what I was going for.
House detail

Here’s the back of the quilt, laying on the bed. I rather like the geometric border and the organic houses, with the parallel lines somewhere in between.
Dream House Quilt -- back

So now the self doubt sets in. I’m actually surprised it didn’t haunt me earlier. I’m considering adding more quilting to the brown border since the fabric is not perfectly smooth after blocking. With the dense quilting trend, it looks a little too spare, and my fan quilting, though nice in the big picture scheme of things, wouldn’t pass “quilt police” muster. Right now the brown border just has parallel lines the length of each side to emulate a frame. I’m not sure if I’d just add more lines, or if I’d go for some swirlies or something. I’ll live with it for a little while. In the mean time, I’ve taken photos and they will be off to the lab soon. And, I still have at least three weeks before the deadline.

20 thoughts on “My Dream House

  1. this is so very, very beautiful! no reason for self-doubt! to me as an objective viewer, it looks perfect the way it is.
    i also love the idea of the house with roots. this is what one should think of his home. not only a house, but something you´re connected to with some kind of roots – literally and figuratively. really. LOVE it!

  2. I love it! I find it very moving and to echo Katrin’s comment, the roots really add meaning to the piece. I especially like the seed quilting in the roots. I personally don’t have a problem with the borders, but if it really bothers you, why not add some seed stiching in the form of a leaf shape or something. I am not explaining this well. I guess I viewed the border as the leave canopy of the tree. Just a thought. Again, this is gorgeous.

  3. This is spectacular. I love the sophisticated color scheme with the house drawings. The tree and roots are to die for. You are a wunderkind!!

  4. Your quilt is fabulous! The whole concept of this quit is so intriguing–I love the way the roots connect the meaning of home to the core of life. Jeannie’s idea about leaf shapes in the border is a good one–IF you really feel that you need to add more to this amazing quilt.

  5. your son has some roots in germany, what a nice idea. the idea to turn his drawing into a fiber art piece is great. you have a muse!

  6. Oh Kristen-this speaks so loudly to me. As you know my roots are in Germany and it took my breath away-of course I may be slightly biased since you have a special place in my heart. So much talent, my dear. I love the earthy colors and everything about it.

  7. This is stunning. The meaning is clear and so affecting. It begs to be seen. People will love it. Add quilting, if you must, to flatten or whatever, but have no doubts about it. It is a superb piece.

  8. Amazing. Your tool box is over flowing …. I mean, you have worked on so many different things this year and learned new techniques from each, plus developed such a fabulous personal style. That root section is jaw-dropping.

  9. This is a lovely quilt. (I don’t know where you find the time to be so prolific.) Beautiful colour scheme. Wonderful proportions. Interesting details. How do you do it?

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